Alex Bidlake joins Clifford Chance as M&A partner

Bidlake brings more than 18 years of experience to leverage the law firm’s public and private mergers and acquisitions (M&A) practice in Asia.

London-based global law firm Clifford Chance announced last Wednesday (August 23) that Alex Bidlake would be joining its Asia Pacific corporate practice as M&A partner based in Hong Kong.

While her starting date is yet to be confirmed, Andrew Crook, head of the Asia Pacific corporate and private equity practice at the firm, told FinanceAsia that it would likely be around the new year.

Bidlake brings to the firm more than 18 years of experience advising public and private M&A deals in Asia, and has outstanding experience in the energy and infrastructure sector, including energy transitions.

“Alex has an enviable public M&A track record and her insights and deep well of experience will fit in perfectly with our existing public M&A practice, led by partners Virginia Lee and Tommy Tam, to benefit our clients,” Crook told FA.

Bidlake’s priorities will be to support Clifford Chance’s clients on their most complex transactions in Hong Kong and throughout the Apac region, he said.

“We expect Alex will immediately add value.”

Prior to joining Clifford Chance, Bidlake worked as corporate partner at Linklaters in Hong Kong for more than 15 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is also a member on the Takeovers and Mergers Panel and Takeovers Appeal Committee of Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC).

Among the landmark deals that she has been involved in are Blackrock’s acquisition of Korea Renewables Energy Development and Operations Holdings (KREDO) in 2021, and $100 billion merger and reorganisation of Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa Limited in 2015.

"I am excited to be joining Clifford Chance, a leading firm with a highly regarded corporate team. The firm's plans to further develop and enhance its Asia Pacific public and private M&A practice align well with my experience and ambition,” she shared in Clifford Chance’s press release.

The law firm has extensive practices advising M&A deals in Apac.

Significant deals the team have been involved in include the $6.7 billion sale of Goshawk Aviation’s commercial aircraft leasing platform to NWS Holdings and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) last year, as well as Volkswagen Group’s technical collaboration and strategic minority investment in China’s electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer XPENG, announced this July.

“We have seen a significant increase in investments in renewables and energy technologies in the region.  Adding Alex's capabilities to that of our team will help us continue to support our clients for many years to come,” Crook noted.

A strong interest from private capital to invest in infrastructure projects, including in the energy transition space, both real assets and digital infrastructure, is another trend the team observed.

He pointed out to FA a $1.7 trillion gap in infrastructure financing within the region despite the sector’s strong growth, which presents a significant opportunity for private capital providers to participate.

“We see growing demand from private capital for ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects across Asia. And, in turn, we see governments looking to investors to help deliver these projects quickly and with real returns,” he said.

The current macro environment has posed great challenges for M&A dealmaking, Crook agreed, as “it is difficult to reach consensus on valuations” in the face of regulatory, economic, and technological developments.

Deals are taking longer to execute, he observed, with more cautious investors wanting to be certain of sound fundamentals and to make sure they are welcomed by regulators and stakeholders.

“These market dynamics require experienced multi-specialist teams alongside our M&A practitioners including antitrust and foreign investment advice to finance,” he noted.

Setting its sights on the remainder of 2023, the team witnessed a growing focus from Clifford Chance’s clients on Indian, South Korean and Australian markets. An uptick in consumer-facing industries is expected as the Chinese market gradually recovers.

Technology-wise, interests have also been increasing.

“Our specialist tech and digital team continues to see interest in tech transactions and investments all across the region.”

Read also: Deal of the month - HKMC's infrastructure CLO

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